The Finger Lakes wine country in Upstate New York is home to numerous outstanding wineries. The area's cool climate, hilly topography and ancient glacial soils create a premium environment for vinifera grape growth, and place the Finger Lakes as the leader of wine production in the state of New York.
Home to over 120 wineries and three distinct wine trails- Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Trail, and Seneca Lake Wine Trail, the Finger Lakes Wine Country is a top destination for winos of all ages. With so many great options, you might be wondering which are the best wineries in the Finger Lakes to visit. Tripping.com is here to help! Here are the top ten wineries to visit in the Finger Lakes.
1. Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars - Hammondsport, NY
Image Credit: drfrankwines.com
You simply can’t make a trip to the Finger Lakes wine region and not visit this paragon of Finger Lakes wine. Dr. Frank, a plant science professor from the Ukraine, supposedly became the catalyst of winemaking in New York when he became the first to successfully grow the vitis vinifera variety, for which the region is now famous. These days the winery continues to make celebrated wines, especially, of course, their European whites. Their cozy tasting room is located in Dr. Frank’s former home on the west side of Keuka Lake.
Meaghan Frank, great-granddaughter of founder Konstantin Frank, confirms that visitors to this celebrated winery can expect more than favorite vinifera varieties like Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir: “My grandfather began a sparkling wine operation where we focus on the labor-intensive methods of méthode champenoise, the same process as in Champagne, France. Later, my father started a value brand called "Salmon Run" which focuses on easy-drinking value-focused wines. Today we focus on grapes that thrive in our cool climate such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Rkatsiteli and Cabernet Franc just to name a few.” With a wide selection of exceptional wines spanning a range of price points, Dr. Frank’s offers something exceptional for everyone visiting their Finger Lakes Winery.
2. Wagner Vineyards - Lodi, NY
Image Credit: wagnervineyards.com
This established, award-winning Finger Lakes winery boasts some of the best Rieslings in the region but it’s not just for white wine lovers. Wagner also has a brewery that crafts delicious beers and a restaurant on site, which serves Wagner wine and beer along with delicious food, of course. With its stunning foliage, fall is arguably the most beautiful time to visit the Finger Lakes, and therefore the busiest time to visit.
3. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard - Dundee, NY
Image Credit: Wiemer.com
Come for the critically-acclaimed wine and stay for the beautiful scenery at Wiemer Vineyard. Wiemer, a native German whose family was making wine in the Mosel Valley before the United States even existed, planted his first vinifera varietals near Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, in 1976. That old-world heritage has thrived and the vineyard’s Rieslings continue to be one of the most lauded in the country.
4. Shaw Vineyard - Himrod, NY
Image Credit: eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com
In a region known chiefly for Rieslings, Shaw produces a variety of complex European varietals like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc (in addition to the ubiquitous Riesling). When you’re ready for a visit to their beautiful Finger Lakes winery, be sure to call ahead as their tours are limited.
Trip Tip: Create your own wine tour by visiting Shaw Vineyard in conjunction with Hermann J. Wiemer, just 1/4 mile away.
5. Red Tail Ridge Winery - Penn Yan, NY
Image Credit: redtailridgewinery.com
In addition to being known for obscure but satisfying Alpine wines (Blaufränkisch, anyone?), this Finger Lakes winery has the distinction of being the first LEED gold-certified winery in New York. Red Tail's emphasis on quality over quantity means they produce only a limited amount of sustainably-grown wines each year.
6. Bloomer Creek Vineyard - Hector, NY
Image Credit: villagevoice.com
Another Finger Lakes winery focused on quality, small-batch production, Bloomer Creek Vineyard's low-tech approach gives their wine an artistic feel. Enjoy delicious and distinct wines at Bloomer Creek’s beautifully rustic tasting room, nestled in the low hills above Seneca Lake.
Trip Tip: Stop at Stonecat Cafe, just a few miles down the road, for a fresh seasonal meal.
7. Keuka Lake Vineyards - Hammondsport, NY
Image Credit: klvineyards.com
This small Finger Lakes estate winery produces quality dry wines from Gewürztraminer to Leon Millet. Although young compared to stalwarts like Konstantin and Wiemer, this ten-year-old winery has consistently produced celebrated vintages, including several that earned 90 and 91 points from Wine Spectator.
Trip Tip: After your wine tasting, head to the charming Lakeside Restaurant and Tavern in Hammondsport.
8. Heron Hill Winery - Hammondsport, NY
Image Credit: audleytravel.com
Atop a hill overlooking Keuka Lake, Heron Hill’s tasting room is almost unmatched for beauty and also boasts the Blue Heron Cafe, where you can appreciate the Finger Lakes' views and the wines while you eat. It’s not just about the atmosphere and food though; this winery has been producing award-winning wines for more than 35 years.
9. Sheldrake Point Winery - Ovid, NY
Image Credit: Sheldrakepoint.com
Stretching from the shores of Cayuga Lake, Sheldrake’s tasting room is on par with the best of the Finger Lakes. The only thing better than the location is, of course, the wine. From Pinot Gris to Gamay Noir, Sheldrake produces world-class bottles that reflect the Finger Lakes’ unique terroir.
Trip Tip: Arrive by water! Guests with boats up to 35 feet long may tie up at one of their eight dock spaces.
10. Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars - Lodi, NY
Image Credit: lamoreauxwine.com
Rounding out our list is a Finger Lakes winery that has been producing sustainably-grown wine for three generations. In addition to the omnipresent Riesling, Lamoreaux has won accolades for everything from Gruner Veltliner to Merlot to sparkling wine.
This article was written by Katie Vaughan and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist, Lexi Perman.